Leukocyte Esterase

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Leukocyte esterase is a urine test to look for white blood cells and other signs associated with infection.
Leukocyte esterase is a screening test used to detect a substance that suggests there are white blood cells in the urine, which may mean you have a urinary tract infection.
This test is part of the routine urine dipstick test. If this test is positive, the urine should be examined under a microscope for white blood cells and other abnormalities associated with infection.

Test results
An abnormal result indicates a possible urinary tract infection. A positive leukocyte esterase test results from the presence of white blood cells either as whole cells or as lysed cells. Pyuria can be detected even if the urine sample contains damaged or lysed WBC's. A negative leukocyte esterase test means that an infection is unlikely and that, without additional evidence of urinary tract infection, microscopic exam and/or urine culture need not be done to rule out significant bacteriuria.
The following may create a false positive result: Vaginal secretions (such as blood or heavy mucus discharge); Trichomonas infection (such as trichomoniasis).
False negative tests can be caused by: High levels of protein; High levels of vitamin C.

Also you should know
White blood cells in the urine usually indicate a urinary tract infection. The leukocyte esterase (LE) test detects esterase, an enzyme released by white blood cells. Positive test results are clinically significant. The LE test is also used to screen for gonorrhea and for amniotic fluid infections. The combination of the LE test with the urinary nitrite test provides an excellent screen for establishing the presence of a urinary tract infection (UTI). A urine sample that tests positive for both nitrite and leukocyte esterase should be cultured for pathogenic bacteria.

All information on this page is intended for your general knowledge only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.